Listener Mail Bag


Listener feedback is valuable to us, and we love it when someone takes the time to reach out and engage us in conversation!  We will occasionally feature letters we receive which spark some interesting discussion or debate (with name redacted for privacy).  Here is one of them, which was particularly interesting because it challenged us to clarify our position Mark Lewisohn, as well as how we view the state of McCartney’s critical reputation. 

Please do feel free to email us at akompodcast at gmail dot com, send us an ask, or a Tumblr message.  We love hearing from you! 

Listener’s letter:

I’m glad I discovered your podcast, you ladies are doing a great job. You’re discourse on 1968, India etc. was new and really made me think.  A couple of minor critiques: As a McCartney fan, even I have to say your advocacy of his “position” (if we can call it that) is a bit over the top and defensive. Surprisingly for Beatle fans of your age, your characterization of the critical and Beatle world consensus on Paul seems quite dated. This is 2019, not 1985. Nowadays McCartney’s standing, critically and among fans, is sky high. The Jean Jackets are not as influential as you think.  Finally, Mark Lewisohn does not deserve the derision you subject him too. He is a very serious and responsible guy, a true historian who cares about getting things right. Don’t lump him in with the hacks. Anyway, keep up the good work. I’ll be listening 

Our response, written by Phoebe:

Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out to us!  We LOVE to hear from listeners and are so glad you’re enjoying the podcast.

It’s refreshing to hear that you don’t believe the Jean Jacket narratives are as influential as they once were!  We hope this is the case.  The more popular podcasts (by older “experts”) and websites all appear to be steeped in the traditional narrative, but I agree that younger fans often have a more nuanced view of things.

As far as Paul goes, this is something we’ve heard strains of before; that Paul doesn’t need you to defend him, he’s rich, he’s happy, etc.  Many people think the record has already been corrected, so what are we even reacting to?
I’d argue that it’s not about “Paul bashing” (although that still exists too) it’s about a sort of perceived artistic hierarchy  – with John at the top and Paul underneath- that many in the Beatles fandom still buy into. Lewisohn is actually one of the worst offenders in this regard because he relentlessly perpetuates this hierarchy in Tune In, and fervently continues to push it.  Lewisohn admits John is his hero and so we find that John is always the hero of The Beatles story from Mark’s POV.  That’s a perfectly fine position to have as a fan, but when you write this into a biography that claims to be unbiased, it’s problematic.  It may not wholly invalidate his work (for example, he may be a good researcher) but we believe in holding Lewisohn to at least the same standards to which we hold ourselves. 

Our goal with this podcast is to critically examine what we’re being told by those crafting the narratives and that often involves what some may consider “nitpicking.”  But in tearing down the wall we feel we should examine each brick.  
Our efforts to position Paul as an equal to John are by definition disruptive to the status quo and therefore may sometimes require an “over the top” vigilance.  However, our podcast is but a drop in the Sea of Conventional Wisdom so sometimes we decide a “squeaky wheel” approach is required to drive our point home.  It takes an extraordinary effort to challenge views that have resided in the public consciousness for fifty years!  Hopefully the occasional zeal on our part is tolerable 🙂 and we ultimately take the listener to a thought-provoking place.

Once again, thank you so much for contacting us and sharing your perspective!  We learn a lot by hearing from listeners like you, and hope you stick with us.

Phoebe and the AKOM Crew